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Posts Tagged ‘Beijing’

再见,我的北京

我本月一日已经离开了北京,我正在黑暗冷清的瑞典生活。在北京那一年半的时间只能说是我生活中最精彩的,大胆地过日子,过得快乐。去北京之前我跟自己说绝不要谈恋爱,到时候怎么忍受分离?不过,思想的力量不如爱情,结果我在北京语言大学爱上了我的越南同学。遇见爱是唯一最重要的事,但我对北京的好感不只源于爱情的记忆。反而,我认为北京固有一种魅力,一个使我念念不忘的气氛。一般说起北京的优点都会提长城、故宫、京剧、烤鸭等传统的象征。长城是很长,颐和园是很伟大,可是给我印象更深的却是最小的事。在路边买烤栗子、在教室里分析“而”的语法、在五道口吃石锅拌饭、劳动节和女朋友在后海无计划地逛逛、在电影院看姜文的作品、在KTV厅唱周杰伦——这是我的北京。

瑞典著名作家佩尔·安德斯·福格尔斯特龙(Per Anders Fogelström)的小说《我的梦想的城市》描写了一个普通工人在十九世纪的斯德哥尔摩的生活。除了家庭故事以外,小说还充满了他对斯德哥尔摩的热爱和希望。描述的是一个发展中的城市,一个“活着”的城市。北京现在同样不停地变,也带着希望往前冲。更多新高楼和汽车不见得是百分好的事情,但反正无人能否认北京有“心跳”。我在北京的时候还渐渐发觉了不仅仅是北京在变,而且北京改变了我。也许任何在国外生活的人都会受新的语言和文化的影响,但我确实低估了它的力量。我并不是说我变成了中国人(我不会也不愿),而是说通过中国的文化发现瑞典的思想未必都完美,自己的一些成见也显然不正确。反过来中国也有它的缺点,可是我相信中国人民能管好自己,不用我说。

失去了后才懂得珍惜是人之常情,现在我连北京的出租车司机也想!或许太多空气污染影响我的脑子……无论如何我知道我早晚会再去北京,再去我的梦想的城市。

喔对了,我不是直接回瑞典来的,先去越南看了我的宝贝。一切都好,你们不用担心!

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First something about Thursday’s gig at Mao. Snapline opened the show with electro-pop-rock and English vocals delivered in a “slowly going crazy” but yet charismatic manner. Next in line was what I came to see – Carsick Cars. As they entered I noticed that two of the members are actually shared with Snapline. The music, however, is not in the same genre. Rather, it’s riffy and swingy rock with lots of noisy things in between. Some would call it indie rock I suppose.

There were quite a few non-Chinese in the audience, a number of which formed a brief mosh pit to the horror of some Chinese visitors. “No thanks, I don’t mosh.” Unfortunately the band only played about 5 songs, but short is sweet I suppose. When they played the last song – 中南海 (Zhongnanhai) – every smoker in the audience bombarded the band with cigarettes while the rest of us shouted along with the not-so-hard-to-remember lyrics.

The main band was the Beijing girl punk band Hang on the Box, but as far as I’m concerned the gig was over. Afterwards I chatted a bit with the record label guy and bought an undisclosed number of copies of Carsick Cars’ album. I sat in a couch until bassist 李维思 (Li Weisi) and drummer 李青 (Li Qing) turned up and signed my album. Li Weisi smoked Zhongnanhai and I waited a bit longer until guitarist/singer 张守望 (Zhang Shouwang) came along and made my album autograph-complete. I assure you that I’m not crazy, I just thought it would be neat…


Adapted from Maybe Mars without permission.

The album includes 7 songs in Chinese and 3 in English. I’ve been listening more or less non-stop and I do think it’s really cool, especially 志愿的人 (Volunteer), 中南海 (Zhongnanhai) and 广场 (Plaza). The undisclosed number of copies that I have in my possession have a purpose, which is this: I will send a copy of Carsick Cars’ album to anyone who requests it for free, with no conditions attached whatsoever. Just contact me and tell me where you want it delivered. When all my copies are gone I hope that there are an undisclosed number of new Carsick Cars fans in the world!

Copies delivered as of 2007-11-05:

  • China: 2
  • France: 1
  • The Netherlands: 2
  • Norway: 1
  • USA: 2

Disclosure: The original number of copies were actually only 4, but since there were so many who wanted the album I went to buy all the copies in a record store here in Beijing, bringing the total to 8. Despite my best efforts I have not been able to find any more, so at this time I can’t offer to send any more. Nonetheless, I do hope that there are at least 8 new Carsick Cars fans on the planet now!
See also:

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Carsick Cars is a fairly new Beijing rock band which I discovered via MusicBrainz only yesterday. After listening to the repetetive lyrics and riffy guitar of 中南海 (Zhōngnánhǎi) I think I’m hooked! The title refers to the name of a popular brand of cigarettes, but Zhongnanhai is also the name of the area to the west of the Forbidden City (called the New Forbidden City by Beijingers) from where the Party runs the People’s Republic.

中南海,中南海……中南海,中南海
中南海,中南海……抽烟只抽中南海
中南海,中南海……生活离不开中南海
中南海,中南海……谁他妈抽了我的中南海?[source]

Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… I only smoke Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… I can’t live without Zhongnanhai
Zhongnanhai, Zhongnanhai… who fucking smoke my Zhongnanhai?

Figuring out which Zhongnanhai the lyrics might refer to is left as an exercise to the reader. I haven’t been able to get hold of their self-titled debut album yet, but a record shop in 东单 has a copy booked for me. On Thursday they’re playing at the Mao Club and everyone must go! For those not in Beijing, here’s the video of Zhongnanhai instead.

See also:

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Alla talar svenska: en noll två!

Efter begäran av ingen mindre än min mor översätter jag mitt kinesiska mästerverk till svenska. På tunnelbanan är de stora gubbarna formade som tecknet “stor” () medan den lilla har formen av tecknet “liten” (). Det hela är förstås en omvänd parodi av mitt dagliga liv här i Beijing.

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今天又去了民宝火锅城,想起来第一次去多么麻烦。菜单上的汉字大部不认识,服务员说的话也不太明白。“点菜吗”,她问了。“我想吃一种东西,可是我不知道它叫什么”,我回答。“这个东西呢,是黄色、圆的……球……好像是用面做的”。服务员没明白,于是我又说了几遍,哈哈大笑地做手势。她终于问“求切半,对吗?”我没听清,可是已经说了半天,所以只点了点头。随后她把菜端过来,其中居然有我想要的面筋。成功了!

第二次去,点菜没有那么难。菜单上找到了面筋,就指了指给服务员看。“面基、面近、面什么?”我问她了。“面筋。”成功了!

我今天对菜单很熟悉,自信十足地说“麻酱、炸豆皮、土豆片、白菜、鸡毛菜、粉丝、腐竹、面筋。”成功了!

上面有错误的话,请帮我指出来。

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Today we visited the China National Film Museum out in the north-east suburbs of Beijing. It’s a huge complex with a three-story exhibition, an IMAX theater, a digital theater and the usual 35 mm theater. The exhibition focuses on the history of Chinese cinema from its beginning more than 100 years ago till the present. Since I am a big fan of Chinese cinema I recognized many of the actors, directors and films that I love.

I was disappointed, however, to find some glaring omissions – one of the best films by the most famous director was mysteriously missing. I’m talking about Zhang Yimou’s To Live, which was banned for its unfavorable treatment of the Party and the cultural revolution. Tian Zhuangzhuang’s The Blue Kite suffered the same fate. This makes me wonder what else might have been omitted. In the 1930′s film-making was heavily influenced by the politics of the day – might great films from this time be missing because of aligning with the Nationalists?


Where did The Blue Kite go?

The treatment of Chinese animation was very satisfying. Original sketches from Uproar in Heaven were on display, as well as information on Princess Iron Fan and other old gems. Furthermore there were sections on costumes, special effects and the abomination that is dubbing. All in all very nice, but I should warn that there’s very little information in English. Visit only if you’re a film buff, can read some Chinese and already know a fair bit about Chinese cinema.


Making of Uproar in Heaven

Having been through the 20 exhibition halls, we watched an IMAX 3D screening. It was a 30 minute gimmicky movie about the creatures of the sea, obviously made only to showcase IMAX technology. If you ever go to an IMAX theater, be sure to watch a real movie.


Watching IMAX makes you look stupid

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In Sweden I usually demonstrate on labor day, but that’s obviously not an option in China. Instead we went to Houhai, a lake area north of the Forbidden City. I accidentally stumbled upon this big thing:

It’s the Bell Tower and is actually a tourist attraction, but I didn’t feel very attracted to it. There are a lot of Hutongs in the area – Hutong is what the old narrow streets in Beijing are called. More and more of them are destroyed to make room for the modern life, which is a pity in some cases. However, many of them are actually really shoddy. Would you want to live here?

Soon we arrived at Houhai. This area is very un-Chinese with reagge cafes, bars and the like. Nonetheless, walking around the lakes (Houhai is just one of several) is pretty nice.

Feeling kind of bored, we went to Wangfujing to watch a movie. If you get a chance to see Shanghai Red, do pass. It’s unoriginal, slightly pretentious and has corny dialogue, mostly in English (it’s a Sino-American production, I found out too late). Enough about that. I found a huge DVD shop and wandered around for a long time. I was kind of surprised to find Devils on the Doorstep, which I wrote yesterday has never been shown publicly in China. Finally, I bought Mongolian Ping Pong, by the director of the popular hit Crazy Stone.

In all, a great day for the international labor movement (and the international film industry). Last but not least, a warning from the kitchen of BLCU’s dorms:

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